The High Priestess Tarot Card Meaning - Upright, Reversed & More

the high priestess upright

The High Priestess At A Glance

Keywords: Intuition, wisdom, inner voice, internal magic, spirituality calm and centered, regal energy, dignity, intelligence
Seasons: Winter
Zodiac/Planet: The Moon

The High Priestess Description

The High Priestess is the third card within the Major arcana and is often numbered as 2. In the original RWS (Rider Waite Smith) system The High Priestess card shows a powerful High Priestess sat between a pair of columns, one black and one white.

Her headdress is the symbol of Isis, a great magical Goddess and her wearing it symbolizes The High Priestess also believes in and practices magic. The crescent moon resting at her feet is often seen in paintings of the Virgin Mary and suggests she is in complete control of her emotions and thoughts.

On her lap rests a scroll filled with the vast and sacred knowledge of the universe and a backdrop of pomegranates (the symbol of creation and abundance) hangs behind her. She is regal and graceful because she is in connection with her intuition and in complete harmony with the divine wisdom of the universe at all times.

The columns behind her represent Jachin (right) and Boaz (left) at Solomon’s temple. Jachin is the pillar of establishment and Boaz is the pillar of strength. These columns depict the balance of masculine and feminine and the balance their duality brings within us (we each have feminine and masculine qualities within us regardless of our gender.)

The High Priestess Upright Meaning

When The High Priestess card is turned over in a card reading and is upright it often symbolizes that we must listen to our divine inner wisdom.

Not the dry intellect of the mind or the messy intensity of our emotions but the intuitive still part in us which is quietly always there for us. It can be hard at first to listen to this part of us as our thoughts and emotions are so much louder and pressing than our intuition.

Our instinct is that gut feeling we have that tells us something is wrong. It may be quieter but it’s also much quicker. It can kick in long before the mind or our emotions can act.

The High Priestess is quiet, open and receptive to all the signs and synchronicities the universe displays. When this card appears it’s saying The High Priestess has honed the skill of listening to the universe and she would like to guide us to do the same.

“I believe in intuitions and inspirations... I sometimes FEEL that I am right. I do not KNOW that I am.” - Albert Einstein

The High Priestess Reversed Meaning

the high priestess reversed

If The High Priestess card is reversed (the artwork on the card is upside down when the card is turned over) then it has a new meaning. The High Priestess card, even reversed, is still about Intuition, but its lack of it.

There may be times in life where we are blocked from our intuition, or are unable to read it correctly. We may feel confused or lost and we don’t know what the right thing to do is. It can feel like cognitive dissonance as intellect and emotion clash.

This card is saying try to calm the mind and take more time to decide. Do not ask rashly or panic. Me must give ourselves more time to allow our intuition to be heard. It is always there for us and we can develop a practice that allows for this to flourish. Tarot or the practice of cartomancy itself is a great way to hone our intuition.

“You will never follow your own inner voice until you clear up the doubts in your mind.” - Roy T. Bennett

The High Priestess: Yes or No

The High Priestess is one of the few cards which can’t easily be categorized as a yes or no card. Because this card asks us to look within and use our intuition to find our answer. So it could be either. It could also be either if the card is reversed. So to simplify we can apply these conditions to the card when we ask a yes or no question:

I looked within and felt positive about the situation = Yes
I looked within and felt negative gut reaction that this was bad = No

With this card it is important to take our own answers over the answers we find online and other external forms of guidance. This card is literally asking the question we have asked right back at us. It is the classic (and sometimes infuriating) therapy question of “and how does that make you feel?”.

So when this card appears try to sit with the emotions and other internal happenings it brings up instead of reaching for the book or an online resource. 

Let’s Break Down The High Priestess In Our Lives

The High Priestess card in more detail and what it means more specifically within the different areas of our life.

The High Priestess In Love

If the reader has asked a question about love either romantic or platonic and The High Priestess card is revealed then our intuition is going to be incredibly helpful to the situation or relationship we are asking about.

We can sometimes fear telling others how we really feel because it’s makes us feel vulnerable but the other person/people affected by the current situation we’re in will be really pleased that we did speak up.

Reversed it can mean there is a reason to check in with our own selves at this time. We are being asked not to take the words of others and believe them over our own. We need to let everything said to us pass through the filter of our intuition and only believe it if we feel that it is really true.

The High Priestess With Money

If The High Priestess card appears regarding money then it is suggesting we slow down and make our financial and career decisions from a place of our deep intuition and not to act quickly out of FOMO (the fear of missing out.)

Reversed it is implying we are incredibly confused and unable to use our intuition to solve this situation or at this time. We should remember that we always have a choice of what action to take and sometimes no action is a valid and right choice. If we still can’t decide even after checking in with our intuition then we must simply wait as it will be revealed to us soon.

The High Priestess At Work

When asking a question about a work situation or about our careers The High Priestess card can mean that we have outgrown our current role and it’s time to check in with our intuition because there may be a change coming for us if we choose this. We remain open and willing to new opportunities and assess how they make us feel as they roll in.

Reversed means there is something not being said or more to see between the lines. If working with a colleague then it could mean perhaps the words are all there but the intention is not. We need to proceed with caution and make sure our actions are all above board. We can only control our own actions.

The High Priestess With Others

If we are asking about our external world, either our immediate world of people we know or the world at large and we get The High Priestess card as an answer it means we are in a state of being aware and mindful of the world around us and our place within it.

At this time relationships feel easy as we can instinctively sense what others need. We are able to communicate our needs with ease and feel harmonious with our loved ones.

Reversed it says we must trust our own instincts here. There could be a situation similar to gas lighting and we must be careful not to lose ourselves within the relationships or social groups we find ourselves in. If there is someone trying to gas light us we must take a step back from them and protect our own mental space.

The High Priestess With Self

The High Priestess card relates to our internal world by showing us we are in a period of spiritual awakening. We are having our intuition tested and it’s growing in strength every day. It may feel scary sometimes but in time we will have an incredible tool to help us navigate the world with clarity.

Reversed it means our spiritual awakening may need to get worse before it gets better. When the flood gates of our intuition open it may at first be intimidating to see all that we have repressed come bursting out.

There may be years worth of tears and pain to sort through but this release was necessary and always a part of our healing journeys and the universe’s plan for us. Once we have allowed this to pass we are going to feel so much better.

The High Priestess as Feelings

The High Priestess feels like clarity, a gut instinct or a lightning reaction to a situation within. Our bodies and subconscious is able to think and react much more quickly than we are.

So in our lives this may feel like being aware of a situation just before it happens or having an epiphany where we understand our internal world with increased clarity.